Career Pathways: International Law

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International Law can be divided into two branches: public international law and private international law.  Public international law broadly deals with the legal interactions between and among countries.  This can include laws or agreements on international trade, criminal laws (extradition), the environment, human rights, etc.  Organizations involved in public international law include the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court.  Private international law deals with the relationships between individuals or organizations, often in a business setting.  This may involve, for instance, coming to an agreement on a shared set of rules to govern a contract.

The field of international law is vast.  Attorneys practice in many different settings in both the public and private sectors.  For instance, the UN employs lawyers in its Office of Legal Affairs.  Government attorneys play a part in drafting international treaties and agreements that govern relationships between countries.  Private sector international attorneys are often involved in international business transactions.  Typical duties may include drafting contracts, researching international rules and customary law, and representing companies with a global presence in litigation, arbitration, and mediation.


Job Types Typical Duties

Federal Agencies

  • Duties will vary widely for international law attorneys working in federal government agencies but many international law positions will require:
    • Researching foreign laws, bilateral and multilateral treaties.
    • Drafting legal documents.
    • Preparing research reports.
Private Law Firms
  • Representing businesses in their dealings with businesses from other countries.
  • Representing clients who have been arrested or detained in a foreign country.
  • Forming or dissolving foreign companies.

Other Activities

International and Comparative Law Curriculum Guide


Faculty Members Include: Tim Canova, Jane Cross, Doug Donoho, Pearl Goldman Bob Jarvis, Donna Litman, Florence Shu-Acquaye, Jim Wilets

Note: The College of Law offers a concentration in International Law:   


Core Offerings

Advanced Offerings

Related Offerings

International Business Transactions/ LAW 0837/LAW 0838

Admiralty (3 Credits) LAW 0800

Civil Practice Field Placement Clinic FT: 12 Credits LAW 0826/0829 or PT: 6 credits LAW 0828

International Law (3 credits) LAW 0840

Caribbean Law Seminar (2 Credits) LAW 4674

Civil Pre-Trial Practice (3 Credits) LAW 0517

Introduction to EU Law (2 Credits) LAW 1071

Comparative Corporate Governance Seminar (2 Credits) LAW 1060

Trial Advocacy (3 Credits) LAW 0890



Comparative Law Seminar (2 Credits) LAW 0668



European Union Law (2 credits) LAW 1071



International Law Seminar (2 Credits) LAW 0843



Immigration, Nationality, and Refugee Law (2 Credits) LAW 0723 



International Intellectual Property Law (3 credits) LAW 0705



International Litigation (3 credits) LAW 0842



International Protection of Human Rights (3 Credits) LAW 0722



International Regulation of Trade (2 Credits) LAW 0514



International Sales & Arbitration (3 Credits) LAW 0833



Jewish Law Seminar (3 Credits) LAW 1074